Frugal living: A Choice
© 2011, 2013 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
“Happiness is a state of mind that can be enjoyed, regardless of economic status.
Can a frugal living style bring Happiness?
Do you live an unhappy, excessive lifestyle? Do you wish you could back out and convert to a sensible, simpler life but have nagging doubts that you could be happy doing so?
In our modern society, it takes maturity, or in some instances even an unexpected, alternative life-changing event to recognize that happiness is not generated by the accumulation of wealth as many believe, –but only by the larger number of choices it offers. With that discovery, if one is used to a lavish lifestyle with all the benefits, can living more frugally bring happiness?
Living frugally, doing away with the expensive and the unnecessary, may require giving up any number of attractive, comfortable perks such as high-end new cars, excessively large homes in exclusive neighborhoods, designer clothing, and private schools. The adjusted lifestyle may no longer include endless travel, exotic vacations, high-end entertainment and a philosophy of “nothing but the best”.
To live poorly as a single, forced economic choice by circumstance surely results in stress, emotional loss and unhappiness. Paradoxically, the voluntary giving up of expensive, unnecessary lifestyle choices and the pursuit of frugal living can actually result in happiness and contentment.Why?
Happiness is a State of Mind
Happiness is a state of mind that can be enjoyed, regardless of economic status.
Intelligent human beings enjoy believing they are in control of their lives. A lifestyle chosen willingly, even a frugal lifestyle, is inherently more enjoyable than lack of choice or circumstance forced upon you. Being capable of making that choice in itself is substantially pleasing, and that ability ultimately induces happiness and suggests self-fulfillment.
Altering Your Reality to one of Frugal living
Frugality, if examined logically, may be demonstrated as a matter of relativity. A down-sized home may be an excellent three bedroom ranch home instead of the inherited 12-room estate with 2-acre conservatory, tennis court and swimming pool. The Ferrari can be replaced with a sensible Volvo wagon, Volkswagen beetle, or in the extreme, a bicycle.
Personal consumption can be altered to frugality -or at least closer to a sensible alternative, by choosing ordinary good quality clothing instead of designer clothing, eating fewer restaurant meals, entertaining small groups of genuine friends, and replacing expensive habits with simple but satisfying choices. A good example might be having excellent, home-prepared meals instead of paying superficial, outrageous prices for sub-standard meals at high-end restaurants. Choosing a frugal lifestyle does not preclude or eliminate all aspects of the enjoyable life you have become used to, but merely making sound, and often better choices that are sensible and appropriate given the circumstances and desired outcome.
The benefits achievable from choosing frugality are many. Personal happiness is one of them, but the status of happiness can be substantially magnified by adapting a simple, benevolent, giving attitude, as opposed to anxiously hoarding and flaunting wealth which invariably induces personal stress.
The anxiety of keeping up with the neighbors in that upper-class section of town may even be a negative health factor. The sensible choice of a more frugal and common sense lifestyle can substantially increase one’s health by reducing blood pressure, relieving anxiety, and eating a simpler, healthier diet.
Protection of exotic, expensive personal property becomes less of an issue in a more frugal lifestyle. Lavish homes are inevitably a target for burglary just as expensive vehicles are prime targets whether they sit on the street or in the garage behind a high-tech security system. Elimination of excessive personal assets can be a substantial stress-reliever –and help others in the process.
Interestingly, a lavish lifestyle also requires ever more money to sustain itself. Insurance for a Ferrari is prohibitively more expensive than insurance for a Beetle or bike. Insurance rates to protect against theft, vandalism and replacement value skyrocket in lush neighborhoods. As an estate homeowner, little choice is offered to you but to provide the best and most expensive security system possible. Thieves do not waste time robbing modest homes.
Choosing a frugal lifestyle can bring happiness simply because it is less bothersome with fewer demands made upon spouses, families or even related individuals. In choosing frugality, is no longer necessary to “keep up” appearances economically or emotionally.
How is that worthy goal achieved?
With thoughtful and careful effort, a systematic downsizing of assets can be achieved reasonably in a timely manner. Contrary to popular belief, to do so it is not necessary to live poorly, sacrifice self-respect, personal values, or individuality. In fact, the opposite occurs. In practice, personal self-esteem can be substantially increased as you choose a healthier, more satisfying and active lifestyle under fewer demands. There are clearly benefits to living frugally if you are willing to make the sensible choices required.
Bottom line, if managed logically and with reason, frugality can bring much personal happiness to you, loved ones, friends and your family–even total strangers.
Is that Incoming I hear?